Trump Extends Program Helping People Leave Institutions
For the third time this year, additional funding will keep alive a federal program that moves individuals with disabilities from institutions into the community while lawmakers consider a longer-term plan.
Legislation signed this month by President Donald Trump allots another $122.5 million for Money Follows the Person.
The Medicaid program provides states with funding to pay for employment supports, housing and other services so that people with disabilities can transition from nursing homes and other institutional facilities to homes in the community.
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Disability advocates have been pushing for years for a renewal of Money Follows the Person, which officially expired in 2016, and by late last year, every state was running out of funds for the program.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill in June that included over $1.99 billion to reauthorize Money Follows the Person through 2024. But rather than take up that measure, the Senate moved to provide another short-term extension.
The latest action will keep the program running through the end of this year. But given all the uncertainty, it’s operating in a weakened fashion, advocates say.
“States are currently not transitioning any new (people), just continuing with people who are already transitioning,” said Sarah Meek, director of legislative affairs for the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR.
Accordingly, Meek’s group and others are pressuring Congress to follow through on a long-term renewal.
States have received roughly $3.7 billion to help more than 88,000 people leave institutions through Money Follows the Person since 2006.